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Semi-monoque railcar with huge openings

Semi-monoque railcar with huge openings

Semi-monoque railcar with huge openings

Hi all,

Rail question on Forum with lots of stressed skin experts:

Any examples of semi-monocoque designs with really large openings? Imagine a stressed skin rail car with a 10ft wide x 15 ft high basic rectangular cross-section, 80 feet long, and openings are desired in roof measuring about 9 ft x 12 ft, at 2 places!

As I understand it, gravity and longitudinal strength manageable, but in torsion, it just doesn't work without huge weight impact. However, opening is only needed to be accessed once every 6-7 yrs.

Are you aware of any similar structures? Does anyone use a structural hatch in practice?


RE: Semi-monoque railcar with huge openings

A rail car cannot be called a semi-monocoque structure. Same as as tractor trailer .. there is a substantial I-beam under the 'box' structure that routes the tensile & majority of torsion. The 'box' structure at most just deals with the 'air' loads. A monochrome structure handles a fore-said loads as well as bending & internal pressurization. Remove the I-beam .. & the rail car become a mass of sheet metal collapsed on the ground.

Examples of large opening .. There are 2 types of arrangements. 'Plug' and 'Integral'. Plug arrangement - A structure is built around the opening that is capable of transferring the shear loads around the opening. The door is just a 'plug' to either/or separate the interior from the environment and/or contain the internal pressurization. Ie: Plug .. Opening frame so designed that internal forces push the door into a frame which is slightly smaller than the area of the door - thus plugging the opening. The loss of this 'door' is usually not detrimental to the overall integrity of the structure.
- An 'integral' door contains mechanisms that bind it to the surround structure of the opening. By means of hooks & latches it re-establishes a continuous load path across the opening. Most modern jetliners are of this type. A loss of the 'door' would significantly endanger the integrity of the structure.

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